June 24, 2010

Soapy Smith aids a fallen police officer, 1893.

The following is an excerpt from my book, Alias Soapy Smith.

While Jeff was always occupied with making money, he seems never to have lost sight of the struggle of the masses. Frequently Jeff found time and capital to aid those in need. When on February 17, 1893, police clerk Sam T. Inman committed suicide over financial problems, Jeff took out his wallet to help the man’s family.

Jeff Smith performed yesterday another of those acts of generosity and charity for which he is noted. When he heard that Sam Inman had left his family in very poor circumstances he at once put his name down for a large amount on a piece of paper and got a number of his friends to do likewise. The fund has reached $362.00.

The amount does not seem like much today, but an inflation calculator for 1893 shows it to be about $10,850 today.

Jeff’s giving, however, had a practical side. The gift was surely also a contribution towards improved relations with the fire and police board. Inman, an ex-deputy sheriff and ex-lieutenant of police, was a clerk of the police court, but his position was to be eliminated. He was also a gambler going through a losing streak. The game of faro was his favorite, which is possibly how Jeff came to know him. He was survived by a wife, son, and daughter. In a note to his daughter he wrote that he had not a dollar to his name and on the previous day had lost $175 gambling at the Nickel Plate Club, the Chicken Coop, and the Jockey Club.

Sam T. Inman: p. 271.



  1. Glenn, thanks for posting! We'd like to think Soapy had a heart of gold.


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